Have you ever found a sofa or a chair so comfortable or so appealing in some way that you just wanted to wear it rather than leave it behind?
Me neither, but apparently Bill Gaytten has. Marc Newson’s furniture designs were apparently a strong source of inspiration for this collection. Newson’s furniture doesn’t exactly fall within the scope of my personal taste, since it is largely molded plastic and metal, but I get the emphasis on construction and I think that was where Gaytten was going. He used a material that is velvet, which has been the come-back fabric of the season, fused to neoprene. He then cuts it into squares so that it comes off as a bit reptilian in its appearance, and builds from there. Visually, Gaytten achieves a unique effect that sets this collection apart from others we’ve seen this season, which is important. At the same time, though, the looks rather miss the target for “luxury and femininity” that Gaytten says were his goal. Femininity, yes. Luxury? Not so much.
Here’s the thing: there are elements here you’re going to love. Gaytten defies this season’s tendency (I’ll stop just short of calling it a trend) for drop waists and goes the other direction, keeping waistlines high and silhouettes fairly slim. He likes Georgette dresses this season and we see that look often, which is a touch of good news. With just a little bit of shoulder padding, the overall design tends to be very flattering for women. The few sweaters in the collection are a bit bulky with shoulders over done and pushed up sleeves that look a bit restricting, but for the most part the cut and trim of these pieces are going to work for most women.
At the same time, there’s a lot that’s going to come down to matters of personal taste. While the color palette generally runs in the direction of browns and yellow, there are times it takes off in the direction of jewel tones. Prints are especially lively and while I personally didn’t find that to be a bad thing, others responded that it looked a bit like rainbow puke. Okay, that’s a rather graphic reference perhaps, but I can see from where one might establish that opinion. The elements that provide such strong construction, the panne velvet and a great deal of stiff leather, look good but aren’t necessarily going to feel that way. Again, a bit like trying to wear Marc Newson’s furniture. Some will enjoy the shimmering metallics, but others may justifiably find them looking a bit too plastic in their shine, even though the feel is more like silk.
Even more curious elements were the accessories. Knitted opera gloves looked more like something your Great-Aunt Ethel gave you for Christmas; yes, they are rather cool in a way, but they don’t actually go with anything. Chunky disc-shaped belts felt totally out of their element, as though lost from some bohemian collection somewhere in space.
When you see these John Galliano looks in store windows this fall, chances are one will find them attractive enough to take a look. Whether one actually takes an ensemble home, however, may come down to how one feels about how the pieces look and feel when actually worn. Well constructed looks are wonderful, but does one really want to feel as though they are wearing a plastic chair? Success ultimately depends on how many women find that looks work for them.